Getting settled in Costa Rica

We were fortunate for being able to get out of Seattle prior to the big snow storm and arrived safely in Costa Rica on December 20th. After clearing customs we took a taxi to the Vistalinda apartments near the Guadalupe neighborhood of San Jose. We had been in contact with Carlos, the owner, over the past few months and he assured us we would have a room. We arrived at the razor wired fortress and buzzed the door. A Tico greeted us at the gate. I explained who we were and that "Carlos" said we would have a room. He then revealed that he was Carlos, but it seemed he didn't recall our prior e-mail and phone conversations. He said he recently lost all of his e-mail correspondence. He let us inside the complex and said there were two rooms available. We chose the larger second floor room which has a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. The apartment has views of the mountains and the central valley.

Over the next few days we visited the common area of Vistalinda and talked with Vistalinda, San Josesome of the people that live here. Vistalinda's target renter is an American/Canadian 50+ year old man. The location is close to San Jose and buses and taxis are plentiful. Many people staying here have either been here for many years or make this their home when passing through the country. Their is a sense of community here, many spend the morning and evening hours in the common area sharing stories.

The climate so far is superb. The temperature during the day is in the 70's and drops down to the 60's at night. The days are breezy and so far there has been very little rain.

We have done a lot of walking and discovery of places to purchase items. It seems every house has at least one small dog all of which yapped at us the first few days, but don't even look up when we walk by any more. The area we live in is considered low/middle class. The streets are dirty and garbage is everywhere. Along one of our walks is an empty lot with a sign ,that appears to be from the city, stating no garbage dumping. Under the sign and extending part way out on to the street is a huge pile of garbage. It is added to daily and seems to be occasionally set on fire.

Yesterday, across the street from our apartment someone set a Christmas tree on fire. I noticed it because of all of the smoke. A few Ticos appeared and threw large rocks on it, pushed it around and brought a bucket of water to try to put the fire out. It was windy that day and the fire grew and spread until it was obviously too big for buckets of water to extinguish. At that point no one was around. I wondered how the fire was going to put itself out or what was going to happen. After about an hour the fire truck arrived and put out the fire. I was happy the wind was blowing away from our room. A few nights prior I was woken in the middle of the night to our room being filled with smoke. I could tell the building wasn't on fire and the smoke was coming from elsewhere. I covered my face with the sheet and went back to sleep.

We have been to the outdoor Saturday fruit and vegetable market twice. The produce has been excellent. We have been eating a lot of pineapple, papaya, bananas, avocados and oranges. All of which are less expensive than in the states. I have a lot to learn about the produce. There are many items that I haven't seen before and have no idea how to prepare.

Our apartment has everything we need and we are comfortable here, but the neighborhood has no charm and limited expats outside our apartment building. After a week of us walking back and forth to the stores, dodging garbage, cars and dog poop I decided it was time to begin looking for our next place to stay. I got my Costa Rica books out and listed the top 6 cities for us to live in. Ciudad Colon topped the list. I did a search on Craigslist for places to rent and found one that looked perfect and was in our price range.

The next day we met Dick and Sharon on their 38 acre farm. They live on the farm and have 3 rental houses on the property. Dick and Sharon are expats that arrived in Costa Rica in the early 70's. They are wonderful people with a wealth of information about life in Costa Rica. We are going to rent one of their homes and move in on January 7th. Ciudad Colon is about 30 minutes southwest of San Jose. The Peace University is located here. I am looking forward to being in a rural area where nature is abundant.


Kur'z Lee said…

nice pics you got there^^
jill said…
What is an expat and a tico?
moe-nah said…
OK.....just typed a long comment...and then wasn't registered so it was dumped. I guess. What do I know about blogging? Nada! I can learn. Now I am registered, but less inspired. Love the idea of hearing about your Costa Rican adventure complete with pics. Sounds like your next living quarters will be far more suitable to you values and life style. We are so proud of your adventure! I have my user name as MoNa, which is one of my many AKAs, and perhaps my abbreviation for Mother Nature! Looking forward to your next, MoNa